May says she does not expect 'immediate breakthrough' ahead of Brexit talks

May says she does not expect 'immediate breakthrough' ahead of Brexit talks

British Prime Minister Theresa May has admitted she does not expect "an immediate breakthrough" in her bid to win "legal and political" Brexit backstop assurances.

Speaking to reporters as she arrived for the EU summit in Brussels, Ms May said while she will underline her parliament's concerns over the existing deal, no changes are immediately apparent.

Saying she has "heard loud and clear the concerns of those unable to support me" in Westminster, Ms May said she will use the criticism to urge the EU to give her the "legal and political assurances we believe we need".

However, asked by a British reporter if she is "wasting" her time as the EU has made it clear the deal itself will not change, the British Prime Minister admitted: "I don't expect an immediate breakthrough".

Ms May separately said she understands why "the EU is planning for a no deal", saying her own government "is also discussing no deal planning".

Asked about confirmation yesterday she will step down as British prime minister and Conservatives party leader before the 2022 British election, saying while "in my heart I would love to be able to lead the Conservatives into the next election" she accepts "a new leader" is needed.

Ms May had earlier held a one-to-one meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels before planned further talks with European Council president Donald Tusk and others later today.

A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar confirmed the one-to-one meeting this morning just hours after Ms May survived a Conservatives party confidence motion by 200 votes to 117.

The bilateral meeting took place on the outskirts of the EU summit, and is believed to be crucial to finding any potential breakthrough in the Brexit stand-off.

Both Mr Varadkar and Ms May are understood to have focussed on the prime minister's confidence vote survival on Wednesday night and the ongoing attempts to resolve the Brexit impasse.

The meeting of the two leaders was originally scheduled for Government Buildings in Dublin on Wednesday evening before being cancelled due to the Conservatives party confidence vote.

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